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Troy Howat’s big game leads Providence

Though Providence considers itself a great deal more than a one-man team, Troy Howat did his best impression of an unstoppable force.

After drilling three three-pointers during a 13-point third quarter, the Providence senior guard had nearly as many points (18) as St. Patrick (22). He naturally deflected the credit.

“I have to give all that to my teammates because they found me in all the right spots and set great screens,” he said.

Howat scorched St. Patrick with 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting and made five 3-pointers as the Celtics coasted past the Shamrocks 52-43 in a second round Jack Tosh Classic game at York in Elmhurst Saturday.

Providence (6-5) advances to meet Catholic League rival DePaul Prep in Monday’s quarterfinals. The Celtics are finding their groove after incorporating several key players from the Class 7A state football title team into the basketball mix.

Senior forward Jack Rost, one of those acclimated football players, contributed 14 points and five rebounds. His physical style stymied the Shamrocks much of the game as St. Patrick shot 36 percent (15-of-42) and managed just 11 points in the first half.

“We know the game starts at the defensive end and that would translate to our offense as well,” Rost said.

The Celtics took control in the third quarter as Howat made all three of his three-point attempts and also added a putback and a tough baseline jumper as Providence led by as many as 15 points.

“We wanted to come out of halftime and give them a real punch right there,” Howat said. “I thought it was important to get myself going and get my teammates involved.”

Howat also played a key role in shutting down the Shamrocks’ top player, guard Nick Coleman. The 6-1 sharpshooter was held scoreless from the field until just over five minutes remained in the game.

“We spent most of the week in practicing preparing to play against him, and we just executed our game plan,” Howat said.

Coleman broke loose in the final quarter and scored eight of his team-best 10 points. Forward Adrian Pierzchanowski contributed nine points and Sean Ek added eight points for St. Patrick (7-4). St. Patrick led just once, at 2-0. Providence forced the Shamrocks into 5-of-21 shooting on three-point shots.

Football star receiver Miles Boykin remains out with a shoulder injury suffered during football. He is expected back in early January.

The Celtics are a more cohesive team, coach Tim Trendel said. Providence recorded assists (13) on 65 percent (20) of its baskets, the key reason the Celtics shot a blistering 63 percent from the field.

“Tonight we shot the ball like we thought we could shoot it,” Trendel said. “These kids have been practicing more and more, and we’re staring to get that continuity.”